Even today, almost five decades after John F. Kennedy was slain, the public continues to be captivated by the "Kennedy Curse" and new theories about what really happened on that fateful day in 1963. For nearly 50 years, former Secret Service agent Clint Hill has lived with the unimaginable guilt of losing a president on his watch and has obeyed an honor code of silence, refusing to contribute to any books about the assassination. Until now.
Hill was just eight feet from President Kennedy when bullets pierced the president's head right before his eyes. Covered with blood, Agent Hill pushed Jackie Kennedy into the back seat. Clinging to the trunk of the open-top limousine as it sped away from Dealey Plaza to Parkland Hospital, he slammed his fist in anger, as he looked back to the agents in the follow-up car. His eyes, filled with despair, told them what they already knew.
Including contributions from over 40 agents who were on the Kennedy detail from November 1960 to November 1963 and those who knew them, never-before-published letters written by Jackie Kennedy in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, the bizarre unpublished story about a film Jackie made in September 1963 with the on-duty Secret Service agents about an assassination of the president, and the original November 18, 1963, Tampa security report from the author's personal files, which conspiracy theorists have long claimed was destroyed by the Secret Service, The Kennedy Detail provides an unfiltered look at the events surrounding this pivotal moment in American history.
©2010 Gerald Blaine with Lisa McCubbin (P)2010 Tantor
"An important contribution to Kennedy assassination literature because it presents in riveting detail the assassination from the agents' perspective and describes the lifelong emotional burden the agents endured when their best efforts were not enough." (Library Journal)
Stick it out! This book was a little confusing at first, but stick with it, it will make since in the end.
A riveting and intimate account of what it was like to protect the president during this era, but defiled by the glaring, festering sore that is Part 2/Chapter 11, in which Blaine whines ad nauseum about how unfair it is that much of America questioned the Warren Report, and put forth their own theories about what may have happened behind-the-scenes, however implausible.
Blaine's indignant protests paint an image that he and his fellow agents were nearly perfect by every measure, that being a Secret Service agent was the most difficult and important occupation in the free world, that they have suffered more than any other individuals in the aftermath of the assassination, and that we should be thinking about their sacrifices every waking moment of our days, nearly fifty years later.
Don't get me wrong…I'm certain that being an agent on the presidential detail is a difficult and thankless task much of the time, but inserting such blatant appeals for personal exoneration and validation into an otherwise fascinating listen is inexcusable.
After several interesting and introspective chapters about Clint Hill, Blaine seizes the epilogue (Part 2/Chapter 14) to repeat his holier-than-thou rant against conspiracy theorists, beats the drum of his thoughts on current targets, threats, and motives, and then appears to go so far as to lecture the current administration, Secret Service leadership, and public about the best approaches, mindsets and policies under which to protect to protect the president, as well as other public figures (who are clearly NOT the president).
I also thought that the notion of a largely autobiographical work (yes, it is blatantly autobiographical) written from the third-person point of view to be really bizarre.
I would only recommend this audio book to people whom I know well (history buffs, perhaps), and only with the above caveats about the content and tone of chapters 11 and 14 (of Part 2).
Very detailed and personal view of the horrible day in Dallas. Interesting but not much new information for those who have closely followed the news and reports. Can't help but feel renewed pain for all those involved - even the traumatized members of the Secret Service.
the story took you on a roller-coaster ride. There were the ups and alot of downs, yet you could still laugh. The writer and reader made it so you could also relate to the story now ( for those who were not born yet) :).
Blaine and Hill where my favorites. I laughed and cried for them and well at them.
After the assasination the story really comes to life. You feel the pain the men felt afterwards. You wanted to know what happened to them after they left the Secret Service, and how it changed there lives. You become so involved with the book you feel as if you lived it with the characters.
Some people simply can't accept the truth. Gerald Blaine does a remarkable job telling the agent's stories.
The details in the book were great. I recommend it for its historical value. The narration was not my favorite. :-( It just didn't work for me. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't my style. I would recommend the book overall :-) I recently read "11-22-63" by Stephen King and this was a welcome companion to it. The details in King's book were very accurate. I feel for these secret service men and their families.
Do you read the book before you dislike my reviews?
This is a harsh review and after watching the outstanding mini series, "The Kennedys (2011)", I wanted to read this book. I respect the subject matter and the accuracy of what happened in Dallas and JFK and the men that serve for our president. It was an interesting read from Secret Service prospective, but it lacks on evidence of who was blame on Kennedy's assassination. In someways, this book was a bunch of excuses from Secret Service Agents of not doing their jobs. Overworked, too hard, no family, lack in pay, and too much, but the assassination happened on their watch.
I think, that the agents were too emotionally close with the president and first lady, and maybe their judgement were impair because of it. When the first lady walked in her husband's funeral procession, the agents should had step in for the safety of the nation, if not the world, to protect our country's greatest asset at the time.
I am hard on this book because we probably lost one of our great leaders, due to resources and the lack of detail.
It's a shame that JFK wasn't able to complete his term. Less than 5 years after his death, his brother, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. I understand that Secret Service Agents wasn't require to be there to protect his brother, but JFK's assassination should had been a text book on what to look out for to protect our leaders. Robert's death should had been avoided from the fatal shot in 1963, but yet, they learned nothing and see another leader die.
100% of the books I read are in audible format. I enjoy reading apocalyptic, WWII, psychology, classics, contemporary and non-fiction.
This is a great book. The book was told from personal perspectives of the Secret Agents protecting the Kennedy family. It offers insight into the relationships which developed between the Kennedy's and the Secret Service as well as the inner workings of the Kennedy White House. It also detailed the difficulties encountered as the Secret Service tried to provide protection. I found it very interesting and informative …sort of an inside view of a line of business I know nothing about (secret service agents) while, at the same time, listening to the back story of that era and of the events leading to and surrounding the killing of President Kennedy. As anyone else who was alive at that time, I remember exactly where I was and how I felt, at age 17, upon hearing the devastating news. I feel that this book is one that most people, who are remotely interested in that event, would enjoy reading – it’s as though I finally know some details about it, which I didn’t have before, and I am satisfied with the accounting.
This is the best book about JKF that I have read to date; absolutely fascinating to learn for the first time details about JFK, his family, and his assassination as told by the folks who were closest to the events: The Secret Service!
The Kennedys were just perfect. And I???m pretty sure the Secret Service men were not the WIMPS Gerald Blaine wrote them as, and Alan Sklars' voice wined throughout.
I???ve listened to audio books for more than 20 years, starting with tapes; this is the first book I could not finish. It was like a rancid piece of meat that was covered in syrup, I could not swallow.
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